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|Shining the Holy Ark|
|Developer(s)||Camelot Software Publishing|
Shining the Holy Ark is a turn-based first person dungeon crawler for the Sega Saturn. Set many centuries after any of the previous Shining games, it was the first game in the series to abandon the original overarching storyline, introducing in its place the saga of the Vandals and the Innovators. It was also the first Shining game to have an adventuring party composed mostly of humans.
Gameplay is most similar to Shining in the Darkness; the player explores towns and dungeons in the first-person view, with battles almost exclusively taking place in dungeons. Battles take place in a turn-based format, maintaining the first-person view but also allowing the player to view allies as they take their actions.
Each allied unit has a class, which defines a set of abilities for that unit and gives an idea of the spells and equipment they have access to. Once a unit reaches level 20, it can advance to a more capable class. A unit can be promoted at any level from 20 on up to the game's maximum unpromoted level, 40. Upon promotion the character's level resets to 1.
One unique mechanic is the "pixie" system, where the player can find pixies that will attack enemies as the party encounters them. There are a variety of ways of finding pixies, but they are usually found by searching walls and other impassable objects in dungeons.
The battle goal for the player is fairly simple: kill all enemies, or escape the battle(not possible in boss battles). The enemy side wins when they manage to kill all party members, and the party is returned to the last priest they visited with half their gold lost.
If the player presses one of the action buttons when a set of monsters first appears and the correct type of pixie is selected, an amount of damage will be dealt to each of the monsters, additional experience points will be awarded if the battle is won, and an additional amount of gold coins will be found if the battle is won, all in proportion to the number of pixies of that type the player has. Which pixie is the correct type depends on what direction the monsters appear from:
Pixie - monsters coming from directly ahead of the group Fairy - monsters which attack from above Succubus - monsters appearing from the left of the party Incubus - monsters appearing from the right Leprechaun - monsters coming up from the ground
Being easily frightened, pixies will only attack before the first turn of a battle, and will not attack bosses at all.
Three mercenaries - Arthur, Melody, and Forte - are hired by the King of Enrich to hunt down and capture a renegade ninja by the name of Rodi. The group pursues Rodi to the nearby mines where, after a brief skirmish, an unknown craft crashes through the roof. All four characters are gravely injured, but soon healed by being possessed by strange spirits. While those inhabiting Arthur, Melody, and Rodi seem benevolent, Forte is occupied by an evil spirit. From here the story follows the three unwitting heroes as they fight to stop the revival of the legendary 1,000 year kingdom, which would return the world to an age of darkness.
- Arthur - a mercenary swordsman, one of the three hosts for the spirits
- Melody - a mercenary shaman, one of the three hosts for the spirits
- Rodi - a ninja from Far East Village, one of the three hosts for the spirits
- Basso - a dragonute mercenary, companion of Lisa
- Akane - a kunoichi, Rodi's sister, enamored of Panzer
- Forte - a mercenary wizard, Melody's partner
- Doyle - a wolfling ninja, appears several times as an NPC before becoming a secret character
- Lisa - a mercenary soldier skilled in swordsmanship and support magic, rumored to be a princess
- Sabato - a sage who served as the king's advisor and chancellor before being ousted by Rilix, seeks to manipulate that course of events so that good will triumph over evil.
- The King of Enrich
- Galm - a powerful Vandal who for unknown reasons does not wish to see the 1,000 year kingdom revived
- Elise - Rilix's sister, a beautiful but sadistic Vandal
- Lord of Far East Village - an elder who serves as leader of Far East Village, father of Rodi and Akane, adoptive father of Panzer
- Time Warrior
- Head Viper
- Evil Spirit
- Rilix - a Vandal who secured a position as the king's advisor and court wizard, one of the game's major antagonists
- King Snail
- Mad Blossom
- Panzer - a young Vandal from Far East Village, one of the game's major antagonists
- Dragon Warrior
- Master Ninja
- Dragon Knight
- Master Kunoichi